Whitewater Guiding has its Own Culture, and it's Evolving


On this West Virginia Morning, we take a look at what Inside Appalachia has in store for us this weekend. The show explores explore some of the region’s unique aquatic destinations — on the water, and beneath it.

About 150,000 people commercially raft a West Virginia river each year — most on the New and Gauley rivers, which go through Fayetteville. Raft guides take most of those people down the river – professionals who are trained to know water, but also to know people.

The concept of a river guide in West Virginia started to form in the late 60s, and it turns out, there’s an entire culture within the guiding community. One that’s been passed down for decades and is developing more each year.

Our folklife reporter Caitlin Tan spent a day with river guides on the New River in Southern West Virginia.

You can listen to more stories about recreation along some of our area’s rivers and lakes this Sunday morning at 7 a.m. and again at 6 p.m., here on West Virginia Public Broadcasting. Or download the podcast wherever you get your podcasts.

Also on today’s show, West Virginia native and country musician Kathy Mattea returned to Mountain Stage earlier this year with songs from her brand new album “Pretty Bird.” The collection finds the Grammy-winning singer interpreting some of her favorite songs by a variety of artists, including our Song of the Week- the iconic story-song “Ode to Billy Joe.”

West Virginia Morning is a production of West Virginia Public Broadcasting which is solely responsible for its content.

Support for our Appalachia Health News project comes form CAMC and Marshall Health. Support for our news bureaus comes from West Virginia University, Concord University, and Shepherd University.

West Virginia Morning is produced with help from Caitlin Tan, Jessica Lilly, Kara Lofton, Liz McCormick, Dave Mistich, Brittany Patterson, Eric Douglas, Cory Knollinger, Emily Allen, and Roxy Todd.

Our news director is Jesse Wright. Our producer is Glynis Board and our host is Teresa Wills.